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Rosh Hashanah Greetings

“I never knew that Telfed did all of this!” That is probably the comment I hear most often in conversations about why I volunteer as Chairman of this community organisation. Although I have a family and pressing career, I’ve been volunteering for Telfed for about 10 years because it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to hear about the positive impact Telfed makes.

Batya with Deputy Chairman, Robby Hilkowitz

Last week, I bumped in to Leah and we started chatting. She excitedly shared with me that she was in her final year of studies, whilst also participating in Telfed's community service and scholarship programme.

“I didn’t do well at school after we came to Israel. It was a big adjustment and being dyslexic didn’t help. My sister, Lana, has been hospitalized in Shalvata for several years. When I turned 17, I finally got the chance to fly back to South Africa and meet my Dad for the first time. It was exciting and nerve-wracking but I had a good trip and felt it was a new beginning. Little did I realise that the next time we would ‘meet’ would be at his funeral, 6 months before his wedding. He had a heart attack. I came crashing down again.

When I first heard of the PRAS programme, I guess I was looking for attention – my mother worked long hours and I missed the company of my sister. I figured I might enjoy some interaction, so I did a double volunteering commitment with Betsy, an 85 year old and Dani, who also has a sibling with special needs. At some point I realized that whilst I was looking to receive, I was actually giving, and it felt really good.

This year I am finishing my degree in Computer Science and interning at Microsoft. Helping others motivated me and made me realise I have something to offer the world. My studies have given me a career, which provides me with both confidence and independence. It wouldn't have happened without my Telfed scholarship.  Thanks for making me a better person!”

I didn’t know what to say when her story came gushing out. I just felt a sense of overwhelming happiness which led to a smile and a hug. I told her I was proud of her. We felt like family. And that’s what our ‘community’ is all about being there for each other. This is just one example of the many ways Telfed offers support to olim.

The past few months have been exceptionally exciting for Telfed as we celebrate our 70th anniversary. In March, we awarded over 500 scholarships in a momentous scholarship ceremony at the Knesset. Last month we were invited to meet President Reuven Rivlin and had an opportunity to tell him about the incredible work that Telfed does. As the birthday celebrations continue, we hope that you will all join in our anniversary festivities at the upcoming Sukkot picnic and scheduled concerts. Seven decades of supporting one another is no small feat, and sets us apart from other olim communities. Whether you have been in Israel for 70 years or 70 hours, we are all one big family and this should be celebrated. 

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a שנה טובה – may you and your family be inscribed and sealed for good health and abundant blessings and may there be peace in Am Israel.

With warm holiday greetings,

Batya Shmukler 


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